Friday, July 10, 2009

Agent Secrets, Man

By Kevin Guilfoile

A friend of mine called recently. He had just met with an agent about representing his first novel. That's the stage when an aspiring writer probably feels most excited and most vulnerable. The hope that one of your dreams might come true is accompanied by the realization that the mechanisms of publishing are a complicated mystery and you need a Virgil to guide you through its circles. You seek a lot of advice during this period, and you get a lot of it too. Some of it good, some of it irrelevant.

I told him that the agent-writer relationship is basically about trust more than anything, and so asking another person whether this agent would be a good fit is sort of like asking a friend if you should get married to a person that friend doesn't know. Sometimes you just know when it's right. Other times there's only one person who wants to marry you.

On request I once shared my getting-an-agent story (including query letter), but I suspect other writer's stories are more informative or interesting or funny. Surely there are some things you should look for in a good agent, and some warning signs of a bad one. We've touched a bit on this before at The Outfit, but what are some of your agent tales, good and bad? And what are some of your getting-an-agent questions?

Unrelated except in a lazy, kitchen-sink Friday way: Over at the Infinite Summer blog I go deep into the history of an urban legend that gets recycled in the book Infinite Jest (be sure to follow the endnotes for some entertaining links). It might be of interest even to those who haven't read the novel. More significantly, the excellent discussion that follows in the comments about the appropriateness of such appropriation is relevant to anyone who writes fiction for a living I think.

Follow Kevin on Twitter.

20 comments:

Barbara D'Amato said...

You're right, Kevin. The agent relationship is peculiar. You need a rapport and at the same time, it's profit-based. Quite difficult to describe, but when it's working well you know it.

Unrelated question: Somebody told me you are in a distant land. If so, are you doing research?

Kevin Guilfoile said...

If Boston qualifies as a distant land I was there last week. But I was just visiting family. Perhaps the person was speaking metaphorically.

Speaking of research and distant lands, Barb, I had only started your son Brian (D'Amato)'s novel IN THE COURTS OF THE SUN, before I had to stop to read INFINITE JEST. But I was much enjoying it and I'm looking forward to getting back to it in the fall.

I also saw terrific placement of it in a Borders recently.

Barbara D'Amato said...

Thanks for the good words about Brian.

I was at the Niles Public Library last night, with Liz Zelvin, Jane Cleland, Rosemary Harris, and Meredith Cole, and a woman came up afterward and asked what you were doing in Iran [or some such place]. I said I had no idea but I'd find out. I guess there was a failure to communicate. Boston wouldn't qualify, although when I was there last--oh, never mind.

Namaku Keren said...

Obat Kanker Usus
Obat Kanker Usus
Obat Kanker Usus
Obat Kanker Usus
Obat Kanker Usus
Obat Kanker Usus
Obat Kanker Usus
Obat Kanker Usus
Obat Kanker Usus
Obat Kanker Usus
Obat Kanker Usus
Obat Kanker Usus
Obat Kanker Usus
Obat Kanker Usus
Obat Kanker Usus
Obat Kanker Usus
Obat Kanker Usus
Obat Kanker Usus
Obat Kanker Usus

Namaku Keren said...

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

teguh priyanto said...

T
B
B
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H

teguh priyanto said...

H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H

X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X

teguh priyanto said...

T
B
B
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H

teguh priyanto said...

H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H

X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X

Obat kanker serviks manjur said...

X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D

Obat kanker serviks manjur said...

D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D

D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D

teguh priyanto said...

X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D

teguh priyanto said...

D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D

D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D

teguh priyanto said...

A
B
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C
C

C
C
C
C
C
C

teguh priyanto said...

C
C
C
C
C
C
C
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
BE
BE
BE
BE
BE
BE
BE
BE
BE
BE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE

Obat kanker serviks manjur said...

TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE

Obat kanker serviks manjur said...

TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE

Namaku Keren said...

`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`

Obat kanker serviks manjur said...

TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE

Obat kanker serviks manjur said...

TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE
TE